Amazon and Hachette Book Group announced today they've brought their bitter, months-long dispute to an end with a new multi-year contract that will allow the publisher to set its own ebook prices.
"This is great news for writers," Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said in a statement. "The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”
Although details of the agreement weren't revealed, the new ebook terms will take effect early next year; however, the companies said they'll immediately resume "normal trading." Amazon similarly reached a new contract last month with Simon & Schuster.
The very public standoff between Amazon and Hachette began in the spring, when the publisher's contract expired, although the particulars of their dispute were kept relatively private. Still, as The New York Times and others have reported, the fight appears to have been about Amazon wanting both a larger share of ebook revenues and lower ebook prices.
However it started, the brawl dragged in authors and even comics companies like Marvel and Yen Press, as Amazon began suppressing sales of books published and distributed by Hachette by eliminating discounts and preorders, and slowing shipping. The retail giant also briefly tussled with Marvel's parent company Disney, although that dispute reportedly involved issues surrounding product promotion and placement, and price-matching (Amazon employed similar tactics in that instance, ending preorders for the Blu-ray releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Maleficent and other films).
Authors United, a group formed during the dispute, and the Authors Guild have asked the Justice Department to investigate Amazon's tactics.